Gen Z says her generation has issues: Unschooled, unpatriotic, negative

by WorldTribune Staff, July 4, 2024 Contract With Our Readers

“Between arming them with smartphones and failing to arm them with adequate civics education, our culture has failed to produce the next generation of proud Americans,” columnist and Gen Zer Rikki Schlott wrote for the New York Post on July 4.

“Learning about the world and current events through social media probably doesn’t help either,” wrote Schlott, who pointed out that a third of America’s youth are getting their news from Chinese-owned TikTok.

“That’s the platform where Osama Bin Laden’s Letter to America went viral, because young Americans were celebrating it,” Schlott wrote.

Schlott, who said she is a “Zoomer who’s wholeheartedly proud to be an American — but sometimes it feels like I’m the only one,” notes that “poll after poll finds that my generation is markedly less patriotic than our predecessors.”

A survey from Democracy Fund’s voter study group found that three quarters of Gen Z say that the nation requires “significant change,” while two in three agree that “America is an unfair society.”

“Perhaps worst of all, four in 10 Zoomers say that America’s Founding Fathers are better described as villains than heroes,” Schlott wrote.

According to the latest data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, which tests eighth graders nationwide for proficiency in various subjects, just 14% of students hit the “proficient” mark in history, and only 22% did in civics.

According to generational expert Dr. Jean Twenge, a professor of psychology at San Diego State University, Gen Z’s patriotism is part and parcel of their general pessimism and malaise.

“They are markedly more pessimistic about everything than Millennials were at the same age,” Twenge told The Post. “The rise in young people’s pessimism parallels their rise in depression, which makes sense.”

“They see their country negatively because they see almost everything negatively,” added Twenge, author of “Generations: The Real Differences Between Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, Boomers, and Silents―and What They Mean for America’s Future”.

“Depression is not just about emotions. It’s also about how you see the world, and depressed and unhappy people see the world more negatively,” Twenge said.

“I don’t see Gen Z’s low patriotism and high pessimism turning around unless and until teens and young adults’ mental health improves,” she said. “I don’t think that will happen until they start spending less time on social media and more time with each other in person.”

Your Choice